USC had started the season 2-0, was coming off an impressive 13-10 win over Stanford in Palo Alto, and had ascended to No. 9 in the national rankings.
In other words, virtually no one expected Boston College to beat the Trojans in Chestnut Hill this past Saturday. But the Eagles did just that, holding off USC in the fourth quarter and winning, 37-31.
“It was a great night,” Boston College head coach Steve Addazio said on The MoJo Show. “The stadium was electric. The crowd was unbelievable. Our players were flying around (and) playing real hard and with a lot of passion and energy. It was a great night.”
It was also a lesson in running the football and stopping the run. The Eagles carried an eye-popping 54 times for 452 yards (8.4 yards per carry) and five touchdowns while also holding USC to 29 carries for 20 yards (0.7 yards per carry).
“There was a lot of things going into that game,” Addazio said. “First and foremost, we said, ‘Hey, listen, we got to get this game into the fourth quarter. If we get it into the fourth quarter, we can beat them in the fourth quarter.’ The way we wanted to do it on defense (was to) get off the field on third down. We wanted to present them with a bunch of schematic changes (and) try to get some unblocked defenders in the hole. We did that. We kind of confused their blocking schemes.
“And then on offense,” Addazio continued, “(we tried) to get them running a bit with some option on the perimeter and then a couple of different traps and whams inside and just kind of get them going and get them on the run in the fourth quarter. They’re super talented, but they also have scholarship reduction. So we were able to get them in the fourth quarter and beat them.”
Addazio didn’t care one bit that his team completed just five passes for 54 yards, zero touchdowns and an interception – for two reasons, really. One, quarterback Tyler Murphy also carried 13 times for 191 yards and a touchdown. And two, Addazio just wanted to win the dang ball game.
“To me, it’s just win the game,” he said. “I just want to win the game. I’m not going to do something to do it. There will be games where we’re going to have to be more balanced. We’re going to have to throw the ball, and Tyler Murphy does a great job throwing it. In this game, they really didn’t have an answer for some of the things we were doing in the read-zone option game. You’re just trying to win it. To have a chance at home to beat a top-10 team, which we hadn’t done in a decade here, was certainly exciting.”
It was also moving. After the win, Boston College (2-1) presented the game ball to the parents of Welles Crowther, a former Eagles lacrosse player who lost his life while saving many others during 9/11.
Addazio spent part of last week talking to his players about the terrorist attacks and what they meant to our country.
“A lot of these guys were young guys (when it happened),” Addazio said. “(I talked about) what was going on in the world on that day and what the thoughts (and reactions were). I reminisced back. I could remember myself being at Notre Dame when everything went down.
“Then (I talked) about Welles,” Addazio continued. “Welles was a young guy just like them: graduated from BC, ex-athlete, had a desire to really be able to do things for other people. And that day in those towers, he made a decision that other people’s lives were more important than his and paid an ultimate sacrifice. With his parents there, to be able to present that game ball from our players was really a special thing, and for Welles’ dad to address our team was really moving.”